In advertising, it seems there’s a lot of leeway these days to promote your product as being one thing when, in reality, it’s something totally different. Usually not what you expected and definitely not what you wanted.
The same can be said of people.
I’ve known people who have been quick to say that they’re humble. That’s a double edged sword because, if you have to tell people that you’re humble, you’re most likely not. Humble people are just humble. They’re not pointing it out to anyone. That would defeat the whole purpose. It usually isn’t long before you notice that the people claiming to be humble are actually very prideful in their words and actions.
It can apply to anything. People who say they’re patient but have a hair trigger temper. People who say they’re dependable but rarely show up on time or sometimes don’t show up at all. People who say they’re nice but who say or do unkind things. People who say they’re honest but cheat on their taxes or pocket the extra change when the waitress makes a mistake.
You get my drift…
What you see is clearly not what they would have you to believe. They want you to believe their ‘billing’ over the ‘product’.
It can be all too easy to think that just because we claim something is true about ourselves, people will automatically believe it. That our words will speak louder than actions. But, there’s a reason the saying is “actions speak louder than words”, and not vice versa. It’s reality.
I had a job interview yesterday, and I was asked to give three words that best described myself. I thought very carefully before answering because the last thing I wanted was to say something that my words and actions wouldn’t back up relatively consistently. I prefer to under sell and over deliver. That means being brutally honest with myself about who I am and who I am not.
In the dictionary, it says, “Don’t pay any attention to what John says. He’s just trying to sell you a bill of goods.” I never want to be that person.
I once heard the question, “What would my life say if I said nothing at all?”. I want my life to speak for itself, and to speak positive things. I don’t want to be my own advertiser. I just want to deliver and let others decide what the headings should be.
One of the words I used to describe myself in the interview was ‘professional’. It felt good when the interviewer nodded her head in agreement and said, “that’s obvious”. Both a relief and a challenge to keep following through.
True advertising. It doesn’t have to be an oxymoron…